Grainy Day

Today’s Happy Note: Sleeping in!  I don’t work until 10 some mornings.  I passed out at eleven last night and woke up at nine this morning.  I felt wonderful!

Today was just one of those days where I wasn’t happy, wasn’t sad, wasn’t angry or excited or anxious.  It’s not that I didn’t feel anything, it was all just sort of murky.  Hard to describe.  Not really like I was in a funk but just sort of…cloudy?  Not gloomy though.   I am generally a very emotionally sensitive person and I feel things very deeply; this was almost a welcome break.  I wasn’t depressed or moody at all.  I guess the day just sort of glided by and now that it’s over I can’t quite characterize it — like it was a grainy photograph.

I spent two hours with friends this evening doing stuff for work.  I had a really wonderful moment somewhere in there where I forgot about all my problems.  I love how friends can do that.  I realized that I wasn’t thinking about food or money or sadness.  I wasn’t berating myself over my size.  I was just me.  I love how being with people I care about sometimes solves all my problems.

Friends and loved ones, of course, cannot fix everything.  Sometimes there is a deeper sadness.  But, as L has helped me figure out, it is possible to survive the sadder times.  I will survive.

A few weeks ago I was having a particularly anxious day at therapy and L asked me what helps me calm down.  Running, reading quietly, taking a nap, and just sitting with someone I love who cares about me.  That last one really is a big thing, and I am coming to see more and more lately how healthy relationships affect me.  When I told her my list, she said simply, “I care about you.”

It was one of the nicest things someone has said to me in a long while. Reason number 14224 why I love her.

Do I add nut butter to everything I eat?  No.  Just most things.

Confession: I just realized that part of the reason my dinners never fill me up is that I am afraid to have it in more than one plate or bowl.  Which means there is usually only one thing involved, and that is never enough!  Tonight I had a big bowl of oats with peaches and dark chocolate and a small bowl of yogurt with coconut and a sprinkling of trail mix.  It did the trick.

I have been loving me some grains lately — literally craving them, which is pretty unusual for me.  I tend to fear excess carbs, but let’s face it: no one ever died because they were eating too much oats and brown rice and millet.

Today was a rest day.  Normally I do weights and kickboxing on Mondays, but between a long run yesterday and speed work tomorrow, I wanted something a bit calmer.  I did a little over three miles walking and 20 minutes of yoga and abs.  I don’t like waking up super early to run and would prefer to do it around three or four, ideally, but it is going to be hot hot hot tomorrow so I know I have to get out by seven.  Uh-oh, that means it’s past my bedtime now!

Goodnight, sleep tight.

Oh, and hello new readers!  Don’ be afraid to say hello. 🙂

A Post From The UK

Today’s Happy Note: Receiving lots of fun things in the mail today, including a sweet stack of magazines from my aunt and uncle!

No, I’m not in the UK.  But I did receive some post from the UK!

The highlight was a special letter from my special friend Sarah. Sarah and I decided to do a little writing exchange about a month back.  We both wrote about our favorite summer memories and then mailed them to each other.  It was the most fun I’ve had in a while; there is something so joyful about writing a letter, knowing someone is writing one to you too.  I loved reading Sarah’s piece — she wrote about childhood trips to a seashore.  I had vacations to Northern Michigan exactly like that!  Crazy to think that two girls, living on different continents, can have such beautiful, shared experiences.  Makes me think that people across the world have more in common than we think, sometimes.

Look how pretty her letter and card are:

It’s Royal Mail!

Thank you Sarah for such a delightful activity!

Workout: Today marks the beginning of marathon training — I am creating a day by day plan for the next 14 weeks, based largely off of this plan from Runner’s World.  I’ll let you know more about the plan as I work through it.  Mondays are actually going to be rest/cross-train days (depending on how I feel).  Obviously, I wasn’t too tired today. I did my usual two mile walk, thirty minutes of yoga, and kickboxing (boxing?) class. I love punching things.  So much.

Tomorrow should be six miles.   Excited!

Today’s Eats:

Frozen blueberries with cereal (kashi H2H) and Ronnybrook Farm milk: heavenly breakfast simplicity.

Lunch: giant salad with refried beans and hummus as a dressing.  More blueberries (fresh this time).

Afternoon snack (also had a few spoonfuls of PB and a chunk of cheese before dinner because I waited too long to start cooking and was super hungry).

An egg (sunny side-up!), a veggie sautee (avocado squash and purple pepper) along with baked eggplant with cheese. Random but yummy.  I love dinners like this, with a few different components that work together really well.

Protein ice cream: milk, chocolate-peanut-caramel protein powder, lots of ice, topped with chocolate and maple PB.   I have been craving chocolate a lot lately.  I blame my screwed up hormones.

Good news: my INR is finally high enough! I will have to get it tested weekly or monthly from now on to make sure it stays high enough (i.e., that my blood is thin enough).  I am kind of afraid I look like an IV drug user right now, so it will be nice not to have IVs so often!  Although I do have two more this week.  Awesome.

Goodnight friends.  Tell me about your weekend!

Running Love and Wrap Love

Today’s Happy Note: Just saw the Karate Kid movie with a friend and it was awesome!  Also got in some much needed social time.  I adore Jackie Chan and totally want to be a kung fu master now.

One of the reasons I love running is because it gives me time to think.  Don’t get me wrong — not every run is a blissful hour of perfect thought.  Sometimes my runs are sluggish, sweaty, messy heaps of boredom or pain.  But those runs when you get your head nice and cleared and you can spend 20 or 30 minutes daydreaming or planning — those are one of the main impetuses behind my running.  I love the endorphins and the sheer joy that comes with flying down a new trail.  But I also treasure the alone time.  I have learned how to lose myself in my own head, even on a hot crowded afternoon in Central Park.

Today was terribly humid, but after a few miles I sort of filtered that out and just…thought.  It was a very pleasant 7 miles.  I threw in 5 or 6 speedy bursts as well.  I am a terrible speed runner.  I try to go fast, I really do, but my muscles just don’t seem to want to move that way.  I would rather run longer and slower than shorter and faster.  The problem for me is that anything less than 6 or so miles falls clearly into the “shorter” category.  I don’t mind this, it just means there aren’t a lot of races available for me.  And to be honest, I don’t like racing.  I said it.  I.  Don’t.  Like.  To.  Race.  I love ultramarathons and like half-marathons and presumably marathons, but I don’t necessarily want to race them.  Is this weird?  Do you run for speed or distance or both?  Do you find it easier to go faster or to slow down and go longer?

Proof of sweatiness.

Eats!  I haven’t shared anything in what feels like years.  Some highlights:

Wraps — lots and lots of wraps.  Why didn’t I realize how good wraps were before?  Seriously so much better than sandwiches.  I have been using various combos of hummus, beans, guacamole, cheese, and veggies.  The flavors get all melty together and they’re oh so wonderful.

Tastiest thing you’ve eaten so far this week?

For me?  Piles and piles of plain shredded coconut.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  Only two more days until the weekend!

Yogunancing and Stuffed Quesadillas

Today’s Happy Note: Running in the rain!  Dancing in the rain!  Thinking in the rain!

I had an awesome yogunancing workout today.  Yogunancing=yoga, running, dancing.  It ended up being an epic 6 hour adventure because I kept getting caught in the rain and waiting and then having to take the train and then waiting some more.  It was quite fun actually.  The adventure included a 90-minute vinyasa yoga class followed by a 9-ish mile run and a 30-minute dance/gymnastics sesh in the park.  I actually just remembered during my run/dance sesh that, two summers ago, I did adult gymnastics classes at Chelsea Piers. I am signing up again!  FYI to new readers (feel free to say hi!): I was a gymnast from when I was 4 until I was 14.  I sometimes miss it.  Tumbling is pure joy.  I’m starting this week and I’ll let you know how the classes go!  I need to find an outfit first though…

Other than that adventure, my day involved some food experimentation, some Real Housewives watching (why why why are they so mean to each other), reading, writing, and, currently, some Nat Geo Great White Shark show viewing.

Breakfast fail:

It actually was not a taste failure.  But please note that these were supposed to be pancakes.  Ummm, yeah.  That didn’t happen.  But it’s entirely my fault because I just threw tons of stuff into a bowl and hoped they would magically turn into pancakes.  The taste was spot on though!  Berries, flax meal, blueberry yogurt, pb.  So I would call them yummy piles of mush rather than pancakes.  But at least I tried!  It is Pancake Sunday after all.

Frozen mango chunks. They never fail me.  Unlike pancakes (see above).

Okay.  Dinner.  This was one of the easiest, yummiest dinners I’ve ever had.  Ten minutes from fridge to plate and bursting with nutrition and flavor.  I used  a TJ’s habanero lime tortilla (after seeing them at Gabriela’s blog!) to make a quesadilla of sorts.  I stuffed it with a serving of low fat refried pinto beans, gouda cheese, and TJ’s cilantro jalapeno hummus.  I can see myself eating this dinner every day for like…all of summer.

I slathered some guacamole on top and had carrots, cucumbers, red pepper, and pineapple on the side.  So gooey.  So warm.  So many flavors — spicy, dense, creamy, cheesy.

Eat this combo.  Now.

I had to follow it up with something else that felt tropical-ish.  Which meant coconut.

Round one: warm brownie topped with WF coconut dark chocolate, snowy shredded coconut, and a few chocolate-covered pretzels.

Round two: mixed a tbsp of crunchy pb, a few tbsps shredded coconut, and a splash of soy milk.  This made a delicious dip for more chocolate covered pretzels!

This was an awesome dessert dip.

It’s been such a busy weekend!  Time for me to wind down for the work week.  Lots to do tomorrow and all week, really.  Stay tuned for recaps of my gymnastics classes and a super awesome Adventure next Saturday!

What are you up to this week?

Dear Peanut Butter: I Love You

Today’s Happy Note: Mission room packing = successful!  I have a few more clothes to throw in here and there, but I’m pretty much set.  Yay!  It was actually quite tricky since I had to pack for three separate categories: stuff being stored over the summer, stuff being moved into my apartment tomorrow, and stuff going home with me for the next two weeks.  Crazy!

Good news friends: peanut butter is back in my life! I ran out about a week ago; I ran out of almond butter a few days ago.  A life sans nut butter is a sad sad life indeed.  I “borrowed” some from my friend Jonathon today and he let me take the whole jar!  It was almost empty and will be perfect for some OIAJ tomorrow morning.  Yum.

I enjoyed my “borrowed” pb with frozen yogurt and m and ms.  I needed a mid-week pre-packing pick me up and this fit the bill.  Sweet, melty, nutty, chocolaty, creamy, and cold.  I have a serious crush on frozen yogurt.

I am not sure to what lengths I would go to get pb or another nut butter if there was a situation where I had been deprived of it for a long time or if it was scarce.  Peanut butter and peanuts are actually a really important food in diets all over the world.  Certain nations in Africa that have, sadly, gone in and out of famine situations over the past decade, have seriously benefited from mass donations of peanut butter and especially a product called PlumpyNut , which delivers a high calorie high protein punch to malnourished children.

Peanut butter is really a great food, as long as you don’t get a version that has added sugars (although sometimes I do splurge for tasty specialty nut butters with sugar or other flavorings, such as Naturally Nutty or Peanut Butter and Co.)  It has protein, healthy monounsaturated fats, and vitamins E and B (info from wikipedia).  In my mind, peanut butter is like, a super-super food!

My top ten peanut butter uses:

1. Spooned into warm oats (it gets all melty).

2. With apples!  Especially honeycrsip and granny smith.

3. With carrots.

4. Mixed into yogurt.

5. With ice cream for a decadent dessert.

6. With chocolate.  This combination works in any way, shape or form!  I like to take a few squares of dark chocolate and make a pb “sandwich.”

7. With pumpkin or pumpkin butter.

8. Good old fashioned pb and j sandwiches (I like blackberry or raspberry jams).

9. In protein smoothies: I eat it with tons of fruit, yogurt, and protein powder all mixed up for post long-run recovery.

10. Pb and spinach sandwiches!  They’re amazing!

What are your favorite uses of peanut butter or other nut butters?  Or are you — gasp — not a nut butter fan?

Exercise: I was going to run this morning but realized that that was really not what I wanted!  I quickly packed my gym bag instead and hit up the icky school gym for 30 minutes of arm weights (did some new exercise today and I’m feeling it!) and 40 minutes on the elliptical (10 minute warm-up, 20 minutes HIIT, 10 minute cool down).  Twas a nice little workout.

I have been a good girl and used up most of my food.  I had to throw a few things out, but it was all stuff that takes forever to get through, and I did try valiantly.

Purple overnight oats!  I don’t like overnight oats, but the flavors in this somehow worked.  Blackberries, a wee bit of vanilla oikos, kashi vanilla oatmeal, water, cashews, and mango butter.

Work lunch:

I tried this new bar for my afternoon snack and it was wonderful!  One of the best bars I’ve ever had.  It’s clif’s version of a lara bar, but actually better than a lara bar.  It was cherry-pomegranate flavor.  Noms all around.

Hodgepodge but yummy dinner — Amy’s lentil vegetable soup with a side of steamed broccoli, refried pinto beans, and an EVOO drizzle.

I just finished eating more oatmeal with more pb.  Hey, it’s that good.  That is one of the best foods that blogs introduced me to.  I tried it after seeing it on Kath’s blog right after I started reading blogs about a year and a half ago.  It made me like blogs very much. 🙂

I’m going to have to buy most of my meals tomorrow, which I don’t love doing.  But there are worse things!  I’m looking forward to having Mexican tomorrow night!

What’s your favorite takeout food?

Goodnight loves!  Happy Friday!

Summer Projects and TWO Dinners

Today’s Happy Note: Chatting with my dad on the phone and getting excited to go home so that I can visit the bakery!  Is this what normal people get excited about when they get to go home?  Probably not.  But I’m a food blogger, which is mutually exclusive to normal.  And my little town has the best bakery in the entire world.  I want to have an eclair.  And an apple fritter.  I am, of course, also getting very excited to see my crazy but beautiful family!

The no good icky bad mood has lifted! Thank the Lord.  Or hormones.  Or my therapist.  I don’t know who to thank but I do know that it’s gone!  (Insert happy dance here).  I let myself sleep in today, went for a nice (ish…) run, had my favorite mid-week treat breakfast, worked, then came home and relaxed.  No obligations.  I’m really not exactly sure what my work schedule will be like in the evenings (I am working two jobs) this summer.  My guess is that it is going to be crazy busy/late on some days and really chill on others.  But after a week of coming home from work at five fifteen and having not not much to do, I know that I am in some serious need of summer “projects.”  I am not going to start any of these until I have “officially” started my summer schedule and am back in NY, which will be in two weeks.  But I’m making a list now so I can plan and keep myself entertained!

Caronae’s Super Spectacular Fun Summer Project List:

1.  Stay in touch with old friends/family members who don’t live in the city.

2. Make regular plans with school friends who are in the city.

3. Meet new blog friends!

4. Start a planter in windowsill.  I want to grow lavender and maybe some rosemary and thyme.  I would like a flowering plant, but I’m afraid a planter won’t allow its roots the room that they need.

5. Find muffin recipes.  Make said recipes.

6. Cook a few fancy dinners.

7.  Places to visit: museums, aquariums, botanical gardens.

8. Weekly yoga sesh with my cousin.

9. Learn to knit?????

10. Buy a set of pastels and use them (sidenote: I adore pastels; they are my favorite artistic tool by far).

11. Learn more about trees and (geek alert!) take walks around the city identifying different types of trees.

12. See some dance shows.

13: Library.  Books.  Read them.  Last summer I had a “reading project” in which I read as many major Russian authors as I could (Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Tolstoy, Pushkin, etc.).  I need a similar project for this summer!  It’s actually really fun if you are a word geek like I am.

14. Expand blog.

So that’s the plan for now!  This doesn’t include everything I’ll be doing, of course (read: running), just some fun and/or new projects.  I don’t really consider running a hobby so much as a part of my life, like eating or working or writing.

What are your favorite hobbies or activities?  Anything I should add to my list?  I’m totally open to suggestions!

Exercise: I did get in my 7.5 mile run today, and it was going really well — my legs were churning pretty fast, I thought — until I had to go to the bathroom about halfway through.  Stat.  Why are public bathrooms in this city so hard to find????  I had to walk for a mile before I found one.  Ick.  I hate when a pit stop derails my run, it’s one of the more annoying things about running.  Other “interesting” things that have happened to me while running: being chased (and almost mauled) by dogs, being stopped by annoying tourists asking for directions to Columbus Circle, getting very very lost in East Harlem, becoming convinced that my mother and sister were eaten by mountain lions, and sneaking into some very sketchy woods (on many different occasions) to go to the bathroom.  Runners have interesting lives and good stories.  You should befriend one 🙂

Eats: I had my special weekday breakfast treat today: a bagel with peanut butter and sweet iced tea from the deli/bakery.  This is one of my favorite things in the world.  I used to think it was so wrong that I would let food make me happy, but life is too short not to feel happy about having your favorite foods once in a while.  I freely admit that toasted cinnamon bagels with peanut butter make me very happy indeed!

I did the whole two dinners thing again today and it worked wonderfully.  No more Hangry Caronae!!!  Yay. 🙂

Dinner #1:

Vanilla-pear protein oatmeal eaten at 5:15.

Dinner #2:

Hodgepodge salad: mesclun base with carrots, steamed broccoli, refried pinto beans, brown rice, and a 2-egg puff.  So nom nom nom nom.

Dessert:

Pineapple chobs with crumbled raspberry chocolate luna bar — I maintain that this is not only the best luna bar flavor but the best bar out there.  Period.  It tastes like a raspberry-infused brownie that you might get for dessert at a fancy restaurant.  For twelve dollars.  I’m  not exaggerating.

Do you have a favorite dessert? I like almost anything with chocolate, especially brownies and homemade bake goods.  I have also been known to eat Ben and Jerry’s (ahem, Phish food) straight from the pint.

Goodnight friends!  Happy almost-weekend!

Finals Challenge Day 2 And Yummy Study Eats

Today’s Happy Note: Talking to my sister!  I always forget to call her but hearing her voice and listening to what’s going on in her life always makes me happy.  Hi Darya!  I love you!

Guess what!  I just finished my second 15-page paper of the semester!  That means two 15-pagers and one 8-pager down, one 10 page take home final and one in class final to go.  And then I’m a senior!  Gah!  I am definitely over the hump in terms of workload and I feel so very relieved.  I can’t believe I’m 3/4 of the way through college. Weird.

Finals Week Health Challenge (Day 2):

1. Check!  I got my weight lifting and my HIIT on (for 30 minutes each) this morning.  I was way sweatier than usual; I hate that about summer.  I’m already susceptible to sweat overload and humidity makes it that much worse.  Yick. Anyone have any summer workout tips?

2. Check!  I was a produce (and Maranatha Dark Chocolate Almond Spread) monster today.  I had a banana, lunch salad with greens, eggplant, carrots, mushroom, and artichoke, and carrots, broccoli, and more mixed greens with dinner.  I would have liked to have a bit more fruit (I was craving a crunchy apple or grapes this afternoon) but the fresh produce budget is low low low right now.  I actually had a really funny conversation with my mom the other day; we were filling out financial aid forms together )over the phone) and she needed to know things like how much money I made last summer and what my expenditures were.  As I was trying to figure out where all my savings went, I said, “But mom, they don’t seem to be accounting for my expensive produce habit!”  We both laughed.  I guess better an expensive produce habit than an expensive obesity-related illness habit.

3. Check! Just had a very chocolatey dessert and haven’t been too snacky at all today or this evening.

4. Check!  My “date” (which, by the way, was very fun — we had lunch and talked for a long time, and he said we should hang out this summer!) instilled a little bit of confidence in me!  It was nice.  I actually told myself that I looked good in the dress that I wore.  Which I think I do!

Hodgepodge of study eats from the past few days (I think Monica’s blog tagline is apt here “running around and eating a lot, mostly healthy sometimes not!”):

This dinner was my attempt at being macrobiotic.  I loved my dinner at Souen a few weeks ago so much that I decided to recreate it!  I think I was actually pretty successful, minus the rice.  I has brown rice, pinto beans, greens salad, steamed broccoli, and roasted carrots, all topped with some Annie’s Goddess dressing, which tasted surprisingly similar to the creamy miso tahini dressing I had at Souen.  I really enjoyed this dinner and I think it was pretty complete and healthy.  Minus the roasting off the carrots, everything came together in ten minutes.  The rice was a failure though; dry, hard, icky.  I think maybe I really just don’t like rice.

So I’ve been eating lots of easy but yummy meals.  I am out of frozen berries but am hoping a quick trip to WF tomorrow will remedy that, so that I can eat even more smoothies.

I’m off to read and enjoy a well-deserved night off from schoolwork (although seeing as I worked until eleven I’m not sure how much of a night off it really is)!  Back to the grind tomorrow.

I hope you are all enjoying the lovely weather friends!  What’s new and exciting in your lives?

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